Towards the tail end of last year, the stellar Muse Festival showed us how much could be done through smart collaboration in the world of music events. The festival wove together a thread of independent – yet not mutually exclusive – curators, who each brought with them disparate sounds and crowds to create something bigger as a whole. For anyone wishing more promoters would take this stance to creating events, Joburg nightlife luminaries DJ Kenzhero, Kid Fonque and Maria McCloy have you covered with their new series of events TONGHT.
Launching this Saturday with a bang, the first of 6 planned events for 2017 will be headlined by Zaki Ibrahim, making her first performance in the city in 3 years. The list of milestones she’s reached in the time between her last performances, including globetrotting performances and the release of her sci-fi epic EP The Orbit, marks this as a performance to look out for.
Each of the three TONGHT organisers have long been fixtures of Johannesburg’s and the country’s underground music scene – playing the roles of discerning tastemakers. Kenzhero’s ‘Party People’ event series, which gave a platform to local rap scenes, eventually made a move to release a compilation record in 2008. Zubz, Stogie T (FKA Tumi), and crooner MXO all made it onto the album, and represent a decent chunk of the aesthetic of the movement at the time; critically acclaimed and live-performance-centric artists being given a party to rock.
Kid Fonque plays a similar role in local music today as a collator of talent ever since making the move from being just a DJ and Producer to becoming a label head at Stay True Sounds. The label has drawn a line between sole-moving dance music that he and fellow co-founder Julian Gomes are known for and the type of dusty rap production Kenzhero might be more associated with. “Kenzhero and I pretty much started DJ’ing at the same time with the same circle of people. He was always hip-hop and I was always a bit all over in terms of the music I played,” explains Kid Fonque, who also presents 5FM’s Selective Styles show on Sundays.
On the business end of the event, publicist / promoter / journalist and noted designer joins the crew with a wealth of experience in and around the music industry (seriously, a resume that lists Black Rage Productions and Outrageuous Records is more than impressive). To hear her talking about her want to throw a “grown and sexy party for people like us” might sound like juvenoia, but the subset of fans TONGHT seems to be aiming for is an underserved one in city right now. That it’s happening at And – primarily known as the city’s underground techno-focused venue with the undeniably high quality sound system – reveals the scope of their plans.
Catch the launch of TONGHT this Saturday, 4th of February at AND in Newtown. Details here.